April 20, 2015

Recruit to College Coach communication


Thanks for all the great info.  I've read a lot on your site for the past few years and now find ourselves starting to get into the thick of the recruiting process with our first of 3 kids.  Deep breaths... :)     I've got a few questions for you here.

This first one seems kind of dumb, but we've been discussing it and are curious.  On unofficial visits, if the PSA wears a shirt with the school's name/logo, does that come across well to the coach, or as "trying too hard"?  We wouldn't go out and buy gear just to wear for the visit, but some she happens to have and we're wondering if it's advisable to wear them or not.

Next question is about frequency of communication with coaches.  We are in the fortunate position of having a freshman who is getting a lot of attention already, from top programs, including a couple offers.  She is communicating with many coaches by email, probably about once every couple months, and with a handful that's she's more interested in more frequently.  She reaches out to some by phone (again, the ones she's more interested in), but generally not more than once a month each unless there's a real reason to (upcoming visit, etc.).   

Our question is what is really the appropriate frequency of communication, both email and/or phone, understanding that she's still just a freshman?   My feeling on the purpose of phone conversations is 1.) to allow the player and coach to get to know each other better and 2.) to show continued interest.  My feeling is that both can be accomplished with 1x/month (or even less) communication at this stage.  But I've heard others in similar situations talking about daily phone calls (maybe not necessarily to same coach, but still much more frequently), and I just don't feel like this is realistic from a time management perspective for her at this stage.  Nor do I feel she should have to be doing this at this frequency now, IMO.  Can you comment on appropriate frequency, and what the perspective is from the coach's side in terms of what they're looking for in these early communications?  Also, is there preference to phone call over email?  

I do believe it's important to maintain a relationship and so I agree some level of communication is necessary and appropriate.  But I also feel like the fact that she's getting significant attention already at this age means that they are more in sales mode than we are at this stage, and so we don't need to be going nuts with it yet.  But perhaps this is a naive and dangerous perspective.    

Thanks in advance for your insight.

-Vball mom from Cali

Thank you for the compliment on the site and hope it can continue to be a resource for you.

Yours is the first question I have received in a while about the recruit to college coach communication parameters, especially with a freshman in high school.  The recruit to college coach communication is always a challenging situation; when, how often, conversation topics, what avenue of interaction, etc.

What concerns me about early communication, is that it can increase the tempo and pressure of recruiting.  As you noted, college coaches are in "sales" mode early (and all the time) - Their job is always to recruit and recruit the best possible player.  They are experts at what they do; making the player feel special, increasing interest in their school, increasing the pressure upon the family if an offer has been made, stalling out the family if an offer has not yet been made, etc.  Also, as mature as your Freshman in high school may be, there is not much relatable between a 35+ year old (most often older) adult Division I coach and a 15 year old…..

If it were my daughter, I would only use email at this point in the process, unless the family is arranging an Unofficial Visit.  And, the email frequency should only be twice a month maximum; think of it more as an update on what is going on with club season as opposed to a conversation - Unless the NCAA has recently changed their rules (which they do all the time, and don't communicate these rule changes very well), college coaches are only allowed to send one email with a letter and questionnaire to a freshman athlete.

You have illustrated a good point - Communicating with college coaches, whether on email or on the phone, takes a time commitment which should be better spent by player/family on other items, like being a freshman in high school.  Families must remember that in the end, there is only one winner, only one Neo.  Beyond getting a basic grasp of a coach's communication style and personality (remember coaches are sales people and are going to show you exactly what you want to see), there is not too much which will be accomplished by constant communication.  A coach knows if you are good or not; if you are calling every day and the greatest kid in the world, but don't have the necessary talent level, then that coach will let you slip bye.

Follow your gut because it is rarely wrong!


1 comment:

  1. We are kind in a similar predicament. My gut says they are no longer interested. Would be nice if they just said we have decided to move in a different direction. They initiated the contact to us so they liked what the saw initially. Cool to change their mind, but communicate so that we can take them off the list and stop all the emails and calls. One teammate got her verbal committment after doing a lot of emails, calls. Hard to know when to keep doing this madness and when to move on...


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